Iron Range Voters Say 'Yes' to Virginia, Eveleth-Gilbert Collaboration

Updated: May 15, 2019 06:11 PM

Iron Range residents voted Tuesday night in favor of combining Eveleth-Gilbert and Virginia Schools to create a joint academy model high school.

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Eveleth-Gilbert voted 1,766 Yes, and 1,276 No. 

As for Virginia voters, as of 10 p.m. Tuesday night 67% voted yes, according to the leader of RAMS.

The idea to merge the schools brought some mixed opinions from people at polling places and in Virginia and Eveleth-Gilbert. 

Voters coming in said this decision was one of the main reasons they were participating in casting a vote. As of 6:30 p.m., that polling place was well past 1,600 voters and election judges say throughout the day, it had been a steady flow of people coming in. Several Virginia and Eveleth residents say they've heard more support for the new joint high school academy rather than opposition but, Eveleth resident John Laurich was one of several residents with 'vote no' signs in their yards.

"I'm not in support of it because Virginia in the long gets to gain mostly from the situation," said Laurich. "A lot of towns like our small town rely on our children and schools to keep the city going and interest going."

Others like Tammy Spelts say it's needed for the kids.

"Both of our districts need this. This has been a long time coming. Our area schools need all the assistance they can get and the biggest thing is we need to do this for the kids," said Spelts.

Again, the plan for the new joint high school academy is to build it off Highway 53, between Eveleth and Midway. There would be two new elementary schools as well, one at the Roosevelt site in Virginia and one behind the Mesabi Range campus in Eveleth.

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